Sunday, 30 March 2014

30th March - Things Are Not Always What They Seem

The conditions were ideal last night for moths, so put the trap out, and expectantly emptied it this morning.  Expectancy was the problem, as there was not the numbers I had expected. There were many Lunar Underwings, and five Hebrew Characters, all having been seen before.  Three Oak Beautys were the highlight, a wonderfully marked moth.




A new species was this Small Quaker, a rather plain looking brown moth.


This one is new to me also, but I couldn't identify it, so it remains unknown. Post Script: now identified as Eudonia Augustea - Common on coastal sand dunes and rough ground by the sea throughout the British Isles, more local inland.  In Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight the majority of records are coastal, but appears annually at most inland sites where trapping is regularly conducted.



 The weather today was meant to be cloudy, but the day started with sunshine, and still the south easterly wind.  After yesterday's Wheatear on the hedge at Lye Way I was keen to work all the main hedges, with the wind the way it was I expected there to be something else about.

I walked up Brislands and into Old Down from Gradwell.  It was quiet, a few Chiffchaff were singing, and the ever present Robins, but there was little activity.  As I made my way to the perimeter path, a crashing sound heralded the appearance of two Roe Deer, and then shortly after a single.  This one has a fair pair of antlers still covered in the velvet.



The wood feels bright and lighter, and many of the fallen trees must still have roots in the ground as shoots of leaves are appearing on the horizontal branches.



As the sap rises these branches will come under the effect of geo-tropism which will turn the branches vertical..

In some of the open patches Wood Sorrel is now beginning to flower.  The petals are extremely delicate with pink veins.



I came out of the wood and walked across the field towards Kitwood.  A Sparrowhawk flew across the tree tops in front of me scattering the Woodpigeon.  As I reached the centre of the field I then picked it up over Old Down, and it made its way towards me, coming overhead.




As I watched the hawk, I noticed a Buzzard soaring too.  The hawk looked like it was going to join the soaring buzzard, but then veered off and headed off towards Lye Way.

The Buzzard was joined by three others, I am not sure where they came from but all of a sudden there were four circling above me.  One came down quite close and banked above me.



I headed off down Lye Way checking the top of the hedges, but only finding Chaffinches.  Today seemed to be Chaffinch day, they were everywhere, and you could always hear their song.

I noticed something run up the bank and through the hedge.  I jumped on to the bank to look into the field and found two Red-legged Partridges running through the crops.



Once past the farm I turned off onto the footpath just to see if there were any butterflies on the bank, there were but they were only Brimstones.  If it was Chaffinch day, it was also Brimstone day, they too seemed everywhere.

The Chiffchaff was in the same place as yesterday, singing in the pussy willow.



I turned back, and out onto Lye Way.  A pair of Long-tailed Tits called in the small copse, and this one posed very nicely.



Plenty of hedges here, but no birds.  I could hear Skylarks above me, and every so often a pair of Linnets would fly over calling.  But there was not the migrants I was hoping for.  I headed up towards the Mountains, and finally found a bird on the hedge, but it wasn't what i was hoping for.



A little further on two grey pigeons came out of the trees to my left, they looked smaller and once I got on to them I could not see any white in the wings, so these were the smaller Stock Doves.  With the high number of Woodpigeon in the are you would think these would be more common around here, but surprisingly they are not

I turned on to Hawthorn Lane and headed towards Kitwood.  As I reached the bridleway I saw a Kestrel hovering over the field.  It flew around for a while, hovering every so often, then rested up on the wires.  I then lost it, but it appeared again hovering by the edge of the field.  Suddenly it dropped to the ground, then disappeared in the crops.

I waited with the camera, and very soon it was up carrying a small animal in one claw.



It then pulled its catch into its body, and headed away and out of view.



I turned on to the Kitwood Bridleway, and found one Brimstone that was not flying past me.



I made my way along the bridleway, hopeful that the warm sun might produce that Orange Tip, but it was mostly Brimstones with the odd Peacock and Tortoiseshell.  The birds were also missing, and other than a couple of Chiffchaffs it was very quiet.

The rest of the walk was so quiet I didn't raise the camera again.  A Jackdaw on the tv aerial on Gradwell caught my attention, always an attractive crow.



It always seems to be the way here.  Good weather the first day provides something of interest, then as the weather continues it goes quiet.  Nothing not even a fly over.  Oh well never mind, at least it is not raining

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